Creatives: How to Seamlessly Integrate Learning Into Your Lifestyle
For the creatively blessed individuals who have more ideas than time, thanks to technology, there are a myriad of ways to integrate continuing education into your lifestyles without the major time consumption, and not to mention hefty fees, often associated with such endeavors.
Due to full-time jobs, families, spouses, children, (or if you’re lucky) an overflow of clientele and other responsibilities related to the craft, it can be difficult to carve out time to keep abreast of the latest industry trends, although this is extremely necessary to remain ahead of the curve.
This list has been specifically designed for those of us who lack the time (or, let’s be honest, discipline) to take long-term measures toward sharpening our expertise. These tips can easily be applied across various industries, from graphic design and web development to photography and copywriting.
While there are no shortcuts to substitute the hard work required to learn a craft, steps toward keeping up with the current creative trends can be seamlessly incorporated into your lifestyle through the following means:
* Social Media & Blog Feeds – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are a procrastinator’s paradise, but why not make a productive use of these mediums by following accounts specific to your industry and craft? As a graphic designer, my social media feeds have been curated to provide daily doses of art, photography and graphic design inspiration.
I have also developed a bevy of “mentors from afar” through valuable creative insights shared from my favorite authors, bloggers and personalities through social media and blog posts from the following:
- 99U empowers all creatives with insights on how to successfully bring ideas to life. I also own a few titles from their book series that have completely revolutionized my outlook and approach to creativity.
- The Logo Design Love blog, inspired by the book of the same name, focuses on innovative logo design and current brand identity trends. For anyone who wishes to establish a brand identity in this digital age, Logo Design Love is helpful resource toward understanding how effective design can leverage a brand.
- Abduzeedo.com is where visual inspiration lives. In addition to featuring a diverse array of illustrations, photo manipulation pieces, typographical work and web/app design interfaces, they also offer tutorials to cultivate creative minds.
* Podcasts – Podcasts contain convenient bites of knowledge and can be consumed nearly anywhere from a computer, tablet or mobile device. There’s a spectrum of podcasts catered to pretty much every tech field, as well as entrepreneurial business development. Check out a few of my favorites below:
- The Deep End Design Cast, provides relevant, practical insight into the web and graphic design industry from the creative side, to the business side.
- Each episode of Page Break focuses on a book or blog post geared toward creatives in the realm of freelancing, design, development and marketing. They read books so that you’ll either want to, (or won’t have to) read them as well.
- The Graphic Designer Podcast takes on a fun approach to topics ranging from working with clients, keeping your freelance business in running order, and interviews with other creatives in the industry.
* Online Forums – Joining online forums and groups specific to your industry can be as simple as joining an active industry specific Facebook group, or by taking advantage of other free online communities and message boards available that cater to your craft. These platforms can serve as a one-stop shop where users can ask questions, provide insight and discuss industry trends. This can also aid in establishing relationships with other fellow creative minds.
* Align with Great Minds – While making friends may seem counterproductive, (I’m lucky if I see my friends on a monthly basis) having a strong network of like-minded individuals that truly understand the game can be helpful when seeking advice and feedback.
A lot of my designer peers have dropped gems of knowledge that I’d never be able to pull up in a Google search, simply through a quick phone call or text message. In addition, the opportunity to return the favor or pay it forward has also allowed me to grow in my own right.
* Art Imitates Life – Absorb the environment, and free your mind to be moved by your surroundings as inspiration can strike anywhere. The responsibilities of a creative call for constant evolution, so it is vital to be immersed in the world around us to remain relevant and adaptable to the ever-changing standards of our audiences and respective creative fields.
There’s no reason to ever stop learning.